Diwali or Deepavali translates to Festival of Lights. The five-day festival (November 12 – 16) is celebrated as a triumph of good over evil, shining light into darkness. For Spoonflower Sewing Team Manager Anitha, it’s also a time for waking up to prayers, lighting of diyas or lamps, visiting friends and family, wearing special new festive clothes and preparing her famous sweets and savory treats. While her Diwali celebration may look a little different this year, it hasn’t stopped Anitha from creating her very own Poly Crepe de Chine saree to honor her family’s traditions. We can’t wait for you to see how Anitha and her family are celebrating and decorating for Diwali this year.
Anitha: Growing up in Southern India, my siblings and I celebrated Diwali by wearing brand new traditional outfits, racing to burst the firecrackers and visiting friends and family. In continuing with one of the traditions of wearing new clothes, I wear a new saree each year and everyone in my family wears new Indian outfits.
How to Make a Saree
DIY Saree Materials
- 6 yards/meters of Poly Crepe de Chine* – I’m using Kuna Indian Tribal by vagabond_folk_art
- 9 yards/meters of Indian brocade trim
- Sewing machine
- Fabric shears or rotary blade
- Pins or clips
*When choosing a fabric for your saree, be sure to select an option that drapes easily like Poly Crepe de Chine. Also note that darker colors will be less transparent on this fabric.
1. Trim and Hem the Saree Fabric
First, trim the white selvedges on the sides of the printed fabric and then hem all four sides of the six yard piece of fabric. To hem, fold the fabric to the unprinted side 1/2″(1.3cm) and press in place. Fold under 1/2″(1.3cm) again so all of the raw edges are folded under. Press and topstitch in place.
2. Attach the Saree Trim
Starting 12″ (30.5cm) from the bottom left corner—this part of the saree gets tucked inside as you start the drape and hence you don’t want to add bulkiness— pin or clip the trim to the hemmed edge of the saree so the wrong side of the trim is facing the printed side of the saree. Topstitch the trim in place.
For an optional added touch, I created a faux-mitered corner with the trim when I reached the corners of the saree.
Nine yards of the saree trim fit just right for me to take it all the way across the pleats and to cover the back of the saree drape. This gave me the perfect drape all across the border and the pleated pallu, the part of the saree where it loosely hangs over your shoulder.
Now that Anitha’s Diwali saree is complete, it’s time to focus on the decor and treats she’s bringing to the table!
Anitha: Each year my friend hosts a Diwali party where I help decorate and assist in preparing delicious food! We invite friends and family and get dressed in traditional outfits and light plenty of diyas. We also light sparklers and the kids help with Rangoli, making colorful patterns with bright chalk powder. I cherish this moment of togetherness celebrating hope and brightness.
Shop the Look
Table runners, placemats and napkins featuring bright, vibrant colors with Indian motifs adorn Anitha’s Diwali table setting.
Since my dad and siblings live in different countries, I would like my kids to remember this special time as one where we get together with our dear friends and hope for brightness and goodness all around us!
From DIY sarees to Diwali decor, we hope a peek into Anitha’s celebration with family has inspired your own family festivities. We’d love to know what traditions your family shares in the comments below!
Lovely fabric and trim. For the construction I think it would make sense to leave part of the selvage, sew the trim on the wrong side of the fabric–lining the edge up with the edge of the print, then turn the trim to the right side, press, and stitch it down. that way you don’t have several folds of fabric plus the trim on the edge. It would help with the drape of the sari. Plus it’s so much easier to sew, press once and sew again.
Fantastic idea, Lori! We love that there’s different ways you can sew this.
Happy Diwali Anitha, thank you for the blog.
Beautiful Saree Anitha. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.
Wishing you a very happy Diwali 🪔
Simi from CA.
I’m absolutely delighted to see these bright colors!
I am Indian ( born and raised but lived in a few different countries! ) and Diwali is the biggest and bestest festival to me 🙂 . But of course lights and the victory of good over evil is celebrated all over the world.
This article was just fabulous. Wishing you great happiness, health and wealth this Diwali and beyond.
Anitha, thank you for sharing your Diwali traditions. I’ve been thinking about designing my own sari prints for my Spoonflower shop, and this post has re-invigorated me! Thank you for the tutorial for adding the border/trim. And thank you, Spoonflower, for giving visibility to this wonderful festival celebrated by Indian communities around the world.
Happy Diwali to you and your family and friends , you safe is gorgeous
Love from Canada
So beautiful Anitha! The combination of your intricate black and white patterned fabric with the ornate and vibrant pink trim is truly stunning ! Those beautiful Rangoli patterns really pop and I love the diyas in the middle too. It all looks so pretty and I hope you have a wonderful time! I love that you combined the vibrant pink with the dark blue, such a fabulous combination! Thanks so much for choosing my abstract painterly pink fabric to dress your table, I really appreciate it!
This is so exciting to see your beautiful fabric designs sewn up for the Diwali celebrations, Magenta! Congratulations!
Your saree is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your tutorial and family traditions! I’m honored that you chose my design for your saree! It turned out great!